Archive | May, 2010

Half a Page on the CRC

I love people who can be succinct. This from Dan Wade.

Dear Councilor Liberty,

I came across a post on portlandtransport.com outlining your request for one-page CRC proposals and thought I would weigh in.

First of all, the initial planning process seemed to woefully neglect the rail bridge west of the I-5 span, which is a shame considering the potential of this structure as a true multimodal facility. I’d suggest upgrading the rail bridge by replacing the swing span with a lift span and adding the following to the structure:

* Additional tracks for freight and high-speed passenger rail
* Pedestrian/bike facilities
* A local arterial road

The arterial would act as an extension of N. Portland Rd., paralleling the railroad tracks across the Willamette River to meet US 30. The pedestrian/bike facilities could connect to the proposed Willamette Greenway Corridor. Furthermore, the arterial would offer connections to Hayden Island, Marine Dr., and Columbia Blvd. (Speaking of Columbia, I could see this corridor being upgraded to a limited access expressway east to I-205, offering an alternate route to I-84 and hopefully reducing freight traffic on Lombard.)

As for the I-5 span itself, whether the final decision ends up being a full replacement or just a supplemental bridge, I’m of the opinion that 8 lanes is probably sufficient. High-capacity transit facilities are a must, whether it’s LRT or something that could easily be retrofitted for LRT as future demand warrants.

Think I’ll sign off now before I go over the one-page limit. Thank you very much for offering this chance to participate in the planning process.

Someone at the Oregonian Has a Clue About the CRC

Mike Francis’ opinion section feature about the Columbia River Crossing is a refreshing break from the “we must do this no matter what” drumbeat of the editorial page of our local daily:

You don’t have to be an architect, artist, bicyclist, urban planner, academic or environmentalist to fear that the Columbia River Crossing is a process that is careening toward an unfortunate outcome. Just look at the schematic.

And the Jack Ohman cartoon is not to be missed.

My favorite quote from the piece:

But, notes Port of Portland Executive Director Bill Wyatt, “It’s not like there’s an obvious Plan B. We can do what we have in front of us, or do nothing for quite a while.” If the Columbia River Crossing is scuttled now, he predicts, it will take “another 10 or 15 years” before the stars are aligned this way again.

Reading that, I alternate between laughter and anger, because it has been the clear intent of the DOTs, aided by the Ports to, by hook or by crook, make sure that no viable alternative emerges from the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) process for this project.